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Odds taken from DraftKings
|Team||Point Spread||Points Total||Money Line|
|Tampa Bay Bandits||-1 (-110)
|Houston Gamblers||+1 (-110)
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It was a tough Week 2 in the USFL for the Tampa Bay Bandits and the Houston Gamblers, with both teams taking their first losses of the season and dropping to .500 and the bottom two spots of the South Division behind the undefeated Birmingham Stallions and New Orleans Breakers.
The Bandits were crushed by the Breakers 34-3 in the final game of the week and Tampa Bay looked feeble on both sides of the ball throughout the game, their defense seemingly incapable of stopping the pass while their offense only managed to score a second quarter field goal.
The Gamblers dropped their Week 2 matchup to the hometown Stallions, 28-33, an exciting game that might have gone better for Houston had QB Clayton Thorson not thrown three interceptions during the game while completing less than half his passes (48.1%).
So far during this young USFL season, the Tampa Bay Bandits have scored just two touchdowns, both during Week 1, a passing TD by QB Jordan Ta’amu and a rushing score by RB BJ Emmons (see below), with no trips to the end zone at all in their second week of play.
That’s just not going to cut it, and this week head coach Todd Haley will no doubt be using his prior decades of pro coaching experience in the NFL to formulate a game plan that includes a few more touchdowns like the one WR Jordan Lasley caught back in Week 1 to help earn a win.
The Bandits play Houston next, a team that has allowed its opponents to score 45 points in the last two weeks, so Tampa Bay HC Haley will most likely be spending plenty of time in the film room this week studying the Gamblers weaker tendencies in order to maximize his TD chances.
Right now, Gamblers QB Clayton Thorson leads the league in interceptions (4), with three of those picks coming in the Gamblers Week 2 game against the Stallions, his QBR of 49.1 in that game the result of those turnovers and completing just 48.1% of his passes for two touchdowns.
Those four interceptions could be a red flag considering Thorson’s history of turnovers at Northwestern when he played under center there having thrown 45 picks to his 61 touchdowns over four seasons, with 15 of those interceptions happening in his senior year in 2018.
The Gamblers head coach and QB coach is Kevin Sumlin, a former SEC Coach of the Year (2012) and 2x C-USA Coach of the Year (2009, 2011) who has spent much of his coaching career working with young offensive players like Thorson and developing them into winners.
The Tampa Bay Bandits have a running back, BJ Emmons, who spent last year trying to break into the NFL by playing in preseason games and on the practice squads of the Seahawks, Raiders, and Jaguars, the 6’ 0” 220-pound dual threat back now 24 years of age.
In college, Emmons was injury prone (foot, ankle) and saw limited play at first Alabama (6 games) and then Florida Atlantic (9 games) where he averaged 4.3 yards per carry as a rusher and 5.4 yards per catch as a receiver, his speed and quickness making him a dangerous player.
In the USFL for the Bandits, Emmons has carried the ball 33 times for 79 yards and a touchdown with no fumbles, which is an unimpressive 2.4 yards per carry, but he has also caught 6 of the seven passes he has been targeted with for 52 yards.
One standout receiver for the Houston Gamblers is Isaiah Zuber, a 25-year-old who has decent size (6’ 0”, 190-pounds) and enough speed to keep DB’s honest, his brief NFL experience (practice squads, preseason games) giving him an edge among his younger teammates.
In four seasons of college ball first at Kansas State and then Mississippi State, Zuber caught 141 passes for over 1,500 yards and 13 total touchdowns while also carrying the ball 6 times for another 56 yards, a quick runner who is tall enough to battle for the contested catches.
In the USFL for the Gamblers, Zuber has caught 4 of the 9 passes he has been targeted with for 63 yards and two touchdowns (one in each week of play), a hungry receiver that QB Thorson can rely on to run his routes and get open and then fight to take the football to the house.
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|Tampa Bay Bandits vs Houston Gamblers Information|
|What||Tampa Bay Bandits vs Houston Gamblers|
|Where||Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama|
|When||Saturday, April 30, 2022; 4:00 PM ET|
|How to watch||FOX|
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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